I love food, I love reality TV, and I love Lisa VanderPump. What better way to celebrate all three than by heading to Villa Blanca, the restaurant owned by Lisa and her husband Ken Todd of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? Quite frankly, I don’t know why I’d waited so long to try the restaurant out. After all, it had been warmly reviewed on Yelp, and more importantly, visiting Villa Blanca meant I might have actually crossed paths with the one and only Lisa Vanderpump. That alone should have inspired me to visit sooner. But it’s all water under the bridge now because tonight I finally dined at the restaurant, and not only was it a perfectly lovely meal, but as hoped, I got a chance to chat with Lisa VanderPump.
Details about the meal and the experience after the jump…
Villa Blanca on the outside. Joining me for dinner would be jash and Andrea, fellow superfans.
Andrea with the sizable menu. Just like on TV, everything in the restaurant is bathed in white. I didn’t want to disrupt the flow; so I wore all white too (as you’ll later see).
First to arrive at our table was bread and a delicious tapenade. I could have eaten this all night. And by the way, impeccable service all evening. I don’t know if it’s because our waiter Dan was particularly attentive, but the food arrived at the table with extraordinary speed. Plus, at one point, I accidentally blew out our candle thanks to a hearty guffaw and within seconds, a man with a blow torch appeared out of nowhere to re-light it. Very impressive.
Soon it was time to order food. What to get? Well, thanks to me meeting Lisa on the red carpet last week, we knew at least two dishes to order:
As for the rest of our meal, we deferred to the wisdom of Dan the waiter.
Lobster crisps. Basically, this was lobster salad spooned into mini taco shells. It was a pleasant dish; nothing mind-blowing.
The famous tuna tartare. This was really delicious, and made even more so by the (balsamic?) glaze on the edge of the plate. The crisps had a light truffle flavor to them too, which added some luxurious notes to the dish. We were all big fans. (Plus, the serving was quite formidable, which I appreciated.)
Andrea was torn between a salmon and a fusilli dish. She let Dan decide. The result: salmon! And what a strong choice. The fish was perfectly cooked — no hint of dryness — and the flavors bold and mouthwatering. Definitely a winning dish.
jash opted for the Fresh Lobster and Crab Salad. You can’t really go wrong with a name like that. jash did need to request some lemons to squeeze over the salad, but once he did that, he noted that it was delicious.
I was torn between a miso-glazed duck breast and a tiger prawn penne dish. I went for the latter. No complaints here. I love prawns, and these were big, succulent, and bursting with flavor. The pasta, meanwhile, was lovely. It wasn’t eye-opening like the salmon, but the ingredients were all very fresh and the penne cooked quite nicely — and sometimes that’s all you want and need from a rustic dish.
For dessert, we once again deferred to Lisa and ordered the sticky toffee pudding. It was the real deal, folks.
It was around this time that Andrea suddenly blurted it out, “She’s here! With Giggy!” We turned around, and there at the opposite end of the restaurant were Lisa, Ken, Giggy The Pom, and even Martin (he of the blind date with Kim infamy). All that was missing was Pandora! We weren’t sure at first if we should get a picture or not, but when we saw that even Martin — MARTIN — was there, we knew this was a sign from the heavens that photographic evidence of the meeting was necessary.
The irony of course is that we never got a picture of Ken or Giggy or Martin. But we did snag one of Lisa (jash is cropped out for privacy issues):
Basically, the three of us marched up to the VanderPumps and immediately bestowed praise on them for just about anything and everything in our lives. Seriously, I was on the verge of saying, “The weather was so lovely today. THANK YOU!”
The whole group was totally polite, which was impressive given that this must happen every single night. Lisa stood up and chatted with us for a while, and when she asked us what we had eaten, we informed her that we had actually taken HER suggestions. I noted that I had met her briefly at the Bravo Upfronts event last week and that I was the one who had asked her–
“About the tuna tartare!” Lisa said, interjecting.
She had totally remembered me. SCORE! I felt amazing. There had been so many reporters there asking so many questions — the fact that Lisa, one of the greatest women to ever emerge from the Bravo machine, remembered me made me feel as happy and warm as Giggy sporting a new sweater.
Anyway, there was more gushing on our part, and I’m happy to report that Lisa was totally engaging. We got the sense that she could have stood and chit-chatted for hours. If only we could have made that happen. I had so many questions to ask (what did she think about Allison DuBois?) and so many compliments to shower her with (including but not limited to the fact that she looked totally hot in person. A real stunner, but we already knew that).
Eventually we all got together for a group photo (which Ken so graciously volunteered to take. Is he not the best?). Lisa told me to put my doggie bag down, and in my excitement, I just placed it on the nearest chair, not realizing that wee GIGGY was sitting right there. Yes, I placed my doggie bag on top of Giggy. I thought I would be ejected on the spot. Luckily, no one really noticed — perhaps not even Giggy — and I was able to move my bag elsewhere before canine retribution was had. Sorry, Giggy.
Jash’s grainy photo of Giggy, who is barely noticeable here.
Anyway, after we had monopolized Lisa for a good five minutes, we managed to cut ourselves off from the lovefest. And it really was a lovefest. Lisa told Andrea that she was beautiful. Andrea told Lisa that SHE was beautiful. And the two went in a little circle for a few seconds until finally they realized that maybe it was time to move on.
Lisa could not have been any lovelier. This woman is great. And hey, the restaurant was pretty solid too. Tomorrow, when I eat my leftovers, I’ll pretend Lisa’s sitting with me at the table, dishing about Taylor and Camille like we’re old friends. I like to think we are. Also, I’m a lunatic.
9601 Brighton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90210